Home Gaming Xbox One developers just got more CPU power

Xbox One developers just got more CPU power

2 min read
24

Inside the Xbox One

The first year of the new console generation was overshadowed by the constant technical bickering from both sides. Microsoft’s Xbox One definitely started on the back foot, losing out on most third-party performance battles to the PS4. That gap shrunk as 2014 went on, and the latest change to the Xbox One could see it closed completely.

While we were stuffing our faces with festive food, someone managed to nab the Xbox One SDK and throw it up online, allowing anyone with an internet connection to get cosy with the inner workings of Microsoft’s console. What many of us didn’t know was that Microsoft had secretly opened up more processing power to developers in a November update, giving them access to the seventh of eight CPU cores found in the console. This could explain why some games, like Assassin’s Creed Unity, performed better on the Xbox One than the PS4, significantly closing the gap between the two.

But as anyone could guess, it comes at a price. Digital Foundry did a lot of digging, and found that the extra CPU horsepower comes at the expense of Kinect functionality. A lot of game-specific commands would have to be omitted to get the full power from the seventh core, and even then developers are threading on thin ice. At any point a player could yell at Kinect to record a game clip, which significantly reduces the processing power available to the game at hand. Even worse is the fact that developers have no way of implementing systems that can tell if, or when, this happens.

Since it’s embedded into the OS, there’s no way of stopping it either. If Xbox One developers choose to gobble up all this extra power, they risk a little slowdown if any other OS functions are started using Kinect. The SDK’s documentation acknowledges this flaw, with Microsoft aiming to address it with future SDK updates (presumably in the next few months).

But what does that mean for Xbox One games? Well it was clear as day that Unity ran better on Microsoft’s console, with the extra CPU power being put to use in keeping revolutionary Paris more stable. In fact, with all the tweaking, the Xbox One’s CPU is currently 15% better than the one found in the PS4, despite the physical hardware falling below a 10% performance gap between the two. Games are pushing more processing to the GPU nowadays, which gives the PS4 its undeniable edge, but having spare CPU power is nothing to scoff at. Bigger, more open-world games benefit greatly from it, and considering that’s a big trend at the moment Xbox One owners can probably look forward to better performance bumps as Microsoft keeps tinkering with its superior CPU.

It’s, again, something you’ll only really take notice of if you’re running two versions of the same game right next to each other, but I personally think it’s great to see both consoles having their own major pros and cons at this point. Still, the divide between the two is smaller than ever, and Microsoft can be proud of achieving that in just a single year.

Last Updated: January 5, 2015

24 Comments

  1. What, again?

    Reply

  2. Uberutang

    January 5, 2015 at 15:37

    And they not yet shown the power of the fully operational CLOUD!

    Reply

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      January 5, 2015 at 15:45

      Hopefully the Rebel Alliance will destroy it before they can blow up Alderaan, again.

      Reply

  3. HairyEwok

    January 5, 2015 at 15:42

    Master Race will always be on top, consoles are all poopy *Runs*

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      January 5, 2015 at 15:49

      You can *out walk* the peasants

      Reply

  4. Raptor Rants A Lot

    January 5, 2015 at 15:45

    Sigh. Not this again.

    Reply

  5. Blood Emperor Trevor

    January 5, 2015 at 15:49

    I must be old. When I saw the header image the first thing I thought was, “Hey, a turntable.”

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      January 5, 2015 at 15:50

      I thought it was a Beta Max. Or the person has small hands.

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants A Lot

        January 5, 2015 at 15:52

        I thought radio….. See that speaker looking thing?

        Reply

    • Rock789

      January 6, 2015 at 08:15

      Yeah, me too!! First thoughts, without looking at the header was, “Oh no – another DJ Hero incoming.”

      Reply

    • Brady miaau

      January 6, 2015 at 08:32

      sigh. I was not worried about it, till your said “must be old”. Damn

      Reply

      • Blood Emperor Trevor

        January 6, 2015 at 08:56

        I know right? I was looking up something earlier & saw Night Court mentioned. I remembered watching that on TV & that it was cool. Then I saw it was made in 1984. Sigh.

        Reply

  6. Hammersteyn

    January 5, 2015 at 15:49

    Kinect is a nice idea. But ahead of it’s time.

    Reply

    • Spaffy

      January 5, 2015 at 16:08

      On the 360 it was only used when the children played their Disney / Dance games

      Reply

      • Brady miaau

        January 5, 2015 at 20:32

        and, was that not worth it?0

        Reply

        • Spaffy

          January 6, 2015 at 07:13

          Totally XD

          Reply

    • Budrazor

      January 5, 2015 at 16:22

      I agree, most gamers aren’t ready for that yet. They are still stuck in MW2 era.

      Reply

      • Marc O Polo

        January 5, 2015 at 17:21

        i wish we were stuck in world at war not MW2

        Reply

  7. Ottokie

    January 5, 2015 at 16:41

    • HairyEwok

      January 5, 2015 at 16:54

      This made me lol so much and worst is I imagined it in Mako voice going berzerk.

      Reply

    • Tiaan Pat

      January 6, 2015 at 07:51

      So much win in this!!!

      Reply

  8. Lardus-Resident Perve

    January 5, 2015 at 17:08

    The “dangers” of Kinect don’t bother me, as I would not get the console with it. Still waiting for the title that I just “have to have” before I upgrade

    Reply

  9. CypherGate

    January 5, 2015 at 20:01

    So the xbox one needs to deactivate kinesthetic to get some extra cpu power? That’s uhmmm kinda silly cause it comes at a cost of kinect. If they want to do it all they should have considered better hardware.

    Reply

  10. Charl van der Merwe

    January 6, 2015 at 15:35

    ‘and even then developers are threading on thin ice’

    Made me smile 😉

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Xbox Series X Restock Update Today: Track on Twitter, Walmart, Best Buy and More

New consoles are on the horizon, and while Sony and Microsoft have spoken plenty about wha…